What We Think About Oracle’s Acquisition of Talari Networks

November 23, 2018

Oracle announced mid-November that it intends to acquire Talari Networks in the latest example of vendor consolidation across the SD-WAN market.

We’ve been a partner of Talari Networks since 2011 and in our eyes, they’ve been doing ‘SD-WAN’ long before Gartner gave the category its name. Here’s what we think about the latest acquisition news.

In the early days, Talari referred to terms such as ‘WAN virtualization’ and ‘WAN aggregation’ as its technology went through multiple development rounds. Like many of our Next-Generation Technology partners when we discovered them, Talari was ahead of its time, answered a real customer challenge and it did so very well.

Founded in 2007, some might even now consider Talari to be an SD-WAN veteran. One of few original SD-WAN ‘pure-play’ providers, Talari was still behaving as a start-up prior to this acquisition announcement, operating in a lean and agile way, yet was already on software version 7.3.

During this past year in the SD-WAN market, news of other pure-play vendor acquisitions came before Talari’s, with Cisco acquiring Viptela and VMware acquiring VeloCloud, so it was very apparent that any remaining smaller SD-WAN fish would be attractive food for other larger industry sharks.

In the short-term, such acquisitions have caused a slight stall to the SD-WAN market, which makes Oracle’s acquisition particularly well-timed.

Internally within the acquiring vendors, business units have had to re-align, define new go-to-market approaches and iron out efficient execution plans. Meanwhile, unsuspecting prospective customers have also had to re-consider their options before making final investment commitments due to the market shake-up.

In the long-term however, the financial and other global resources these organizations now have behind them to enable SD-WAN business growth are vast, as are their existing channels to market, despite a lack of current SD-WAN experience and skills within partner communities. Let’s hope they use these resources in the right way.

Oracle for example is quoted to have over 21,000 employees and over $700 million in annual R&D spend, which we’re sure will help Talari stay right up there alongside its main SD-WAN competition, something they would surely struggle with in the absence of this acquisition. In fact, one of Gartner’s cautions over Talari in the October 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant for WAN Edge Infrastructure was that it had a limited channel outside of the US, although it did state that Talari was targeting 2018/2019 for international and channel expansion. An immediate global opportunity now presents itself!

Then comes where Talari will sit within Oracle, a giant company who, according to Wikipedia, is the third-largest software maker by revenue in 2018, after Microsoft and Alphabet.

Oracle plans to welcome the Talari team into their Communications Global Business Unit and will look to complement the functionality of their Session Border Controller (SBC) and network management infrastructure. We think this is a sensible fit and a positive move for both companies.

Working with 5 of the leading SD-WAN vendors at Teneo, we’ve been able to witness first-hand how each SD-WAN technology performs in many different application and networking scenarios. Strengths and areas for development are difficult to compare like-for-like, however one thing that’s been proven over the years is how well Talari’s SD-WAN technology performs when applied to VoIP and video traffic. Gartner even stated that Talari’s strength lies in its sophisticated link aggregation and remediation, which provide seamless failover for sensitive applications such as UCaaS/VoIP, in the October 2018 Gartner Magic Quadrant for WAN Edge Infrastructure.

As a testament to this, among Talari’s 500 customers are US emergency response 911 call centers, who rely on Talari’s SD-WAN technology to provide uninterrupted VoIP services and clear communication. In this example, having a reliable network really is a matter of life and death.

Added to this, Talari has recently aligned itself with other Unified Communications partners and readied themselves for failsafe cloud and SaaS access according to this press announcement, which was backed up with comments from Teneo. Such subjects are very close to Oracle’s heart.

Our conclusion therefore is that, with the scale Oracle can provide and the business unit that Oracle will be bringing Talari into, this is an exciting acquisition that should suit both companies very well.

We’ll be continuing to provide support of course to our existing Talari customers and we look forward to accompanying the Talari team through their next stage of evolution. We’ll also be keeping a keen eye on the SD-WAN market to see what’s next! Isn’t it about time for Microsoft to make their move? Others to watch are HP, Amazon, Google and IBM.

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